Selling shoes to whom?!

This Adrants post features an actual ad for Patrick Cox shoes that ran in swanky Brit design mag iD–be carefully opening this at work as it shows two buff men in jockstraps engaged in a fair facsimile of intercourse. Behind a woman on tiptoe in a pair of Patrick Cox shoes. Clearly, it’s a reference to the Puma ads of disputed provenance I wrote about a while back. Beyond creating a ruckus (which it has by getting censored), does this sort of thing really move shoes?

Apple to buy Universal Music?

OK, so this is a weird story made more weird by the Google translation of this story from Der Spiegel: Purchase mood: Apple obviously offers for universal Music – economics – MIRROR ON-line ONE. I suppose I could have read the LA Times story that Slashdot linked to, but I didn’t want to register.

I have followed Apple for a long time, and I can honestly say that if this is true it is the most surprising development in their business plans for a long time, maybe ever. In Jobs I trust, but not without scratching my head.

Bizarre Schwab spot

Just to vindicate a comment I made last night during the Academy Awards, I’m not the only person who found the new Charles Schwab add freakish. Slate’s Rob Walker (always astute) had this to say in this wrap-up of how advertisers are dealing with the war:

Be vaguely inspirational: By far the strangest ad of the night was a spot for Charles Schwab, the discount broker. Shot in black and white, it showed people filing out of Wall Street buildings, forming a huge crowd, and marching away from lower Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge as the announcer talked about Schwab having sparked a “revolution.” Last time we saw people streaming out of downtown on foot was, of course, Sept. 11. To echo that image, at any time, is bizarre in the extreme.

But I totally disagree with this estimate:

And Washington Mutual hit all the wrong notes with a couple of Jackass-esque ads. In one, a dirt-biker flies off a cliff and smashes into the rocks below. In another, a guy endures a bad drill job by his dentist, then gets hit in the crotch with a bowling ball. What does this have to do with Washington Mutual’s services? Actually, what are Washington Mutual’s services? These spots were pointless in a way that transcended current events.

We were all howling at the WaMu ads– maybe they’re just a hometown favorite, but I love all their recent ads.

Inside the WEF

Interesting insider’s view from the last World Economic Forum, courtest of a widely (and somewhat embarassingly) circulated email from Laurie Garrett, science journalist and Pulitzer prize-winner. Slashdot also has an article on this “accidental privacy spill” concerning the likes of George Soros, Bill Gates, and Vicente Fox.

Free money from the big labels

The record labels screwed pretty much everybody, and they have to pay for it. So says the judge in a recent lawsuit filed by 41 attorneys general (including Washington’s own Christine Gregoire)… but almost nobody has claimed their share– up to $20 for everyone who has bought a CD (or LP or casette!) between 1995 and 2000. I filed my claim under the class action lawsuit on this handy site. It took all of 3 minutes.

Wired News has this article
on the whole deal. The sort of bad news is that if more than 8.8 million people sign up (which would seem likely if the results so far weren’t so lame) the consumer remedy will be voided and the damages will go to groups promoting music across the states involved in the suit. (Would that include KEXP???)

Microsoft, Java, Nancy Kerrigan and my poor little knee

Sun’s rather whiny antitrust case against Microsoft got a lot more fun yesterday as Federal Judge Frederick Motz compared Microsoft’s business tactics to the kneecap-busting antics of Tonya Harding‘s posse. This NYT article includes a rather spirited quote from Motz:

The judge likened Java to Nancy Kerrigan, who was clubbed in the knee while practicing for the United States figure skating championships in 1994. Ms. Harding’s supporters “kneecapped Nancy Kerrigan’s knee,” the judge said. “Nancy Kerrigan is deprived of the opportunity to compete on two good knees.”

I must say that this line of analogy really brings the case home to me– an athlete who has also recently been deprived of the opportunity to compete on two good knees. But while Kerrigan was attacked by only two assailants, I was mauled by no less than five players from the San Francisco Fog RFC. Where’s my media circus? Where’s my antitrust case?

I mean, fine, they didn’t mean to hurt me that bad, and didn’t use a tire iron, but still. I’m all bitter about it again because yesterday’s appointment with my surgeon revealed that my knee is still too swollen to even consider surgery. I’m due back in six weeks for reevaluation– by which point I hope the MS-Sun case is over.

Dastardly Disney Deeds

Apparently the dismal opening weekend box office of Disney’s Treasure Planet has caused the company to restate its quarterly results, amidst news of an SEC probe. Poor Mickey.

But he’s not as bad off as the dead white male responsible for the beloved original whence the dreadful derivative was drained. The Guardian, in its biting roundup of US Thanksgiving releases, compares the experience of watching the film to “watching Robert Louis Stevenson being sodomised by Michael Eisner in front of a class of 10-year-olds.” Luckily, the Guardian liked Solaris— I’d hate to hear what they might have said about George Clooney’s ass otherwise.

A nod to the excellent Media Unspun newsletter for relaying this pithy quote. Unfortunately, it is dying a second death next Friday– the first came last year when parent mag Industry Standard folded. Apparently too many appreciators (myself included) failed to shell out $50 to get the newsletter daily.

Slate slaps Bearing Point name

Slate’s Rob Walker has again earned my admiration by pointing out the tragic flaws in the rebranding of KPMG Consulting as Bearning Point. Why is it that consulting firms always choose such bad names? (Remember Monday:, PWC Consulting’s short-lived name before it was snapped up by IBM?) This article rightfully attacks the name as stupid and the brand behind it as utterly generic. To wit:

“What are we? Who are we? What do we stand for? We make things happen. … We integrate and collaborate. We deliver on our promises with an attitude of ‘whatever it takes.’ We measure our success by the success of our clients. … We have a presence, an intensity. … What we have not changed is our mind-set—the desire to get it done. … It’s who we are. We’re fast, nimble, smart, innovative, flexible, responsible, and honest. We know how to think on our feet. And make it happen. Now. … We don’t walk. We run. But with a purpose. A mission. … ”

Whoever did this work (and I’m checking on that) just wrote down whatever jargon the CEO had running through his mind that day, and charged them lots of money for regurgitating it. This is the kind of stuff that makes me embarrassed to do brand strategy.